Jahmyr Gibbs’ Best Ball Fantasy Outlook: Is a Sophomore Leap Coming for the Lions’ RB?

Following an excellent rookie season, what can Best Ball drafters expect from Detroit Lions RB Jahmyr GIbbs in his second year?

Detroit Lions RB Jahmyr Gibbs flashed his dynamic ability and explosiveness as a rookie. Entering his sophomore season with an RB1 season already under his belt, is this the year Gibbs ascends to the ranks of the elite? How high should he go in fantasy football Best Ball drafts?

Jahmyr Gibbs’ 2024 Fantasy Outlook

I just love watching explosive players (who doesn’t?), and Gibbs is quickly becoming one of my favorite players to watch in the NFL.

As a rookie, Gibbs was given the rookie treatment. He spent the first month of the season largely as a pure backup to RB David Montgomery. Veteran deference was shown to, well, the veteran.

Even so, Gibbs’ talent was undeniable. On a mere 234 touches this season, he was able to average 16.1 fantasy points per game, finishing as the overall RB8.

Fantasy managers may be salivating at the notion of Gibbs seeing a full workload. However, I must caution against that.

Simply put, it’s never going to happen. And, to be fair, I don’t think we want it to.

Gibbs is 5’9” and 199 pounds. Historically, feature running backs weigh at least 209. I do think we’re going to see more and more smaller backs become high-level fantasy producers in the modern NFL. However, I don’t think it will be because of volume. We’re going to see guys who are built like Gibbs excel on 230-250 touches.

The Lions are going to run it back with Montgomery and Gibbs once again. We already know that Gibbs is special. He averaged 5.4 yards per touch, eighth in the league, and evaded tackles per touch at a 23.9% clip, ninth in the league. An astounding 8.2% of his carries went for 15+ yards, the second-highest rate in the NFL.

Gibbs is an explosive play machine. We don’t need him to touch the ball 300 times. If he can continue to command around the 14.1% target share he did last season and also not get completely “vultured” at the goal line (which he didn’t as a rookie), Gibbs can average 16-18 points per game on limited volume.

Should You Draft Gibbs in 2024 Best Ball Leagues?

Much like with all of the other non-Christian McCaffrey running backs, I’m still opting to err on the side of WR early in Best Ball drafts. Structurally, teams built around wide receivers have both a higher floor, as well as greater upside if you can hit on some big weeks from later-round running backs.

With that said, there are a finite number of elite wide receivers worth taking. I’ve got Gibbs firmly inside my top five running backs for the 2024 fantasy football season.

If you’re opting to build around early-round running backs, you can absolutely justify taking Gibbs in the middle of the first round. Ideally, he’s a guy I’d want to target if I picked more toward the back end — presuming 6-7 elite receivers are already gone by then.

MORE: Breece Hall’s Best Ball Fantasy Outlook

Given Gibbs’ game-breaking upside, he provides Best Ball drafters with a way to differentiate their rosters when picking toward the 1/2 turn.

Instead of taking a WR who just isn’t as good as the ones drafted earlier, look to Gibbs as a path to give your team more upside if he does end up on the right side of additional volume and touchdown luck.

With the fantasy football season behind us, why not start preparing for your rookie drafts with our dynasty rookie rankings? Additionally, as you look to improve your team heading into 2024, our dynasty trade calculator can help you find the perfect deal to boost your championship chances.

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